Former Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson is challenging the council via a Judicial Review over its refusal to pay his legal costs. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Council is instructing a leading QC to defend a Judicial Review brought by former Mayor Joe Anderson over the payment of his legal costs.
In December 2020, while still serving a second term as the city’s elected Mayor, Joe Anderson was arrested by Merseyside Police and held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation as part of the Operation Aloft investigation. Four other men were arrested on the same day.
Mr Anderson was released on bail. An application to extend his bail conditions was later dropped by Merseyside Police. The former Mayor denies any wrongdoing and is also denying accusations made in the Max Caller report, published in March, which focused on the running of certain departments of the council.
The Judicial Review concerns Mr Anderson’s challenge to the council’s refusal to provide him with an indemnity in respect of legal costs incurred in the defence of these allegations. It is due to be heard in Manchester on a date to be fixed in July 2021.
Mr Anderson said: “Legal Costs Indemnity is within the constitution of Liverpool Council voted for by all councillors and is the norm in local government for elected members and officers in similar circumstances.
“Six senior officers at Liverpool City Council have already benefited from legal costs Indemnity in criminal investigations touching upon the issues raised in Max Caller’s recent report. And whilst I deny the allegations made against me by both Merseyside Police and Max Caller, I should be afforded that same Legal Costs Indemnity.”
Now city solicitor Jeanette McLoughlin has instructed Louis Browne QC from Exchange Chambers in Liverpool to represent the council at the Judicial Review. Mr Browne has an established public law and judicial review practice and has been involved in some of the most significant work in this field in recent years.
“He is ranked Tier 1 for his public law work in The Legal 500 2021 guide where he is described as a “highly skilled barrister with excellent knowledge of his working area.”